Student Leaders from Northern Ireland, the rest of the UK, and from Ireland today held a meeting with Dr Andrew McCormick, the newly-appointed Director General of International Relations in the Northern Ireland civil service. The delegation met Dr McCormick as part of their trilateral meeting in Belfast, which brings together student presidents from NUS, USI and NUS-USI, the student movements in the UK, Ireland and Northern Ireland respectively, representing 7.2 million students.
NUS-USI President Olivia Potter-Hughes, NUS President Shakira Martin and USI President Michael Kerrigan released this joint statement following their meeting with Dr McCormick:
“Brexit arguably poses the biggest threat to stability, good relations and prosperity that Northern Ireland, the rest of the UK and Ireland have faced in the past decade. Students believe that decisions are being taken about their future that could destroy their future educational and employment prospects, and could remove key rights which would create barriers that they should not be subjected to.
“This was a positive and very constructive meeting which provided an excellent opportunity to articulate the significant concerns that students have about the potential impact of Brexit on their lives and the lives of other people too.
“We are very pleased that Dr McCormick was able have a meeting with the trilateral group. It is excellent that such a high level official can now potentially bring forward and address student leaders’ worries on the impact of Brexit on cross-border and EU-wide student and apprentice mobility, on access to Erasmus+ opportunities and access to Horizon 2020 research funding.
“Students are extremely concerned about the impact of leaving the EU on tuition fees, because we do not want fees to increase for Northern Ireland students hoping to study in the Republic of Ireland or for students from the Republic of Ireland wishing to study in Northern Ireland.
“It is also essential that all rights enshrined with the Belfast Agreement continue to be protected if and when the UK leaves the EU.”